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XXL’s Hip-Hop Duets

XXL put up part of their feature on Hip-Hop/ R&B collaborations from their August 2009 issue.

Mary J. Blige: This was around the time, I think, we were in the middle of recording the My Life album. I was in the studio, and Puff was like, “Method Man wants to do a record with you.” I was already a fan of Wu-Tang, but I had become a bigger fan of Meth when he was by himself, so I was excited when I got that call. Immediately I was familiar, and I was all the way in because “You’re All I Need” was one of my favorite songs as a little girl. I used to play that song over and over and over again because it meant so much to me. And, of course, listening to my parents play it, it was like, okay, you know, anything that your parents listen to was good. So I was definitely familiar.

I didn’t know Meth at all. The night we did “You’re All I Need” was the very first night I met him. And he was one of the nicest people that I had encountered since I had been in the music business. I was like, “Wow, this is refreshing.” He was nice. He was supportive. He made me feel like I was his little sister immediately. It was great. I was so happy to be a part of it. [The night we recorded,] I was in the studio already, and Puff was like, “Meth is gonna come by, and you guys are gonna do the song.” I remember being in the studio and him coming. It was him and Ol’ Dirty Bastard and a couple other people. After I did the record with [Meth], Puff sent it to me, and we listened to it. It was like, oh my God, a match made in heaven. It was perfect. The chemistry was just too perfect. Not too perfect, but you know.

Lyrically, Meth is saying some incredible things. He’s saying the things most of us want. We want someone to love us whether we’re rich, poor, fat, skinny, and before all this fame and the hair and makeup, the jewels, that’s what he’s saying. That this person loved him before he was Meth. And that meant a lot, because that’s the type of person I am. I’m with you before everybody knows about you. I’m gonna stay with you forever. I’m gonna rock with you to the end. And that’s why I believe everybody can relate to it, because there are a lot of people out there like that, whether we know it or not, people that really want the best for you, not just because you are a superstar or because of what you can give them, but because they genuinely love and care for you. And that’s why the song, it’s a love song. You’re saying to the person, “I don’t need anything else in this world but you.” It reaches out to all generations, from six to 60, because you got the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell nostalgia for the old stuff, and then you got Meth, who is us, and you got me, who is R&B. And you can’t miss. It’s a home run.

I had never won a Grammy before, and to win it for that song, it was the most amazing thing that could have happened to me at that time in my life, because there were so many negative things happening around me at that time. Although me having a career was positive, that was one of the most positive things that could have happened. It was positive for me. It was positive for hip-hop and R&B. It was amazing, important.

{mp3}method man mary j. blige – you re all i need{/mp3} 

Throwback Track: Large Professor “Mad Scientist”

One of the most coveted unreleased hip-hop albums has finally seen the light of day: Large Professor’s The LP. Take a listen to a version of “Mad Scientist” that I’ve never heard before. And if you’re still lost, peep the Book of Rap Lists explanation below. I’m so far ahead of myself, I should start another life. Ha!

{mp3}06 mad scientist{/mp3}


Cop the album ’cause he dropped it.

Bonus: More backstory for you kids. Pull up a chair.